MADISON, Wis. (SPECTRUM NEWS) - The numbers just keep going up. More Wisconsinites are testing positive for COVID-19, and a higher percentage of those tested have the virus.
“In the past week, we have increased our cases by 5,350 and broken our previous record for positive cases four times, including today,” says Department of Health Services secretary-designee Andrea Palm.
According to the DHS data Tuesday, 826 Wisconsinites have died, and almost 38,000 have tested positive. The numbers suggest coronavirus is spreading faster and more widely than it ever has.
“These numbers are not a result of more testing,” says Palm. ‘In fact on Saturday, we saw more positive cases than we saw on Thursday, even though we tested half as many people.”
Governor Tony Evers says the longer people ignore health advice, they heightening their risk to catch and spread coronavirus. Because of that, businesses will continue to suffer.
“This challenge belongs to all of us,” Evers says. “The economic recovery of our state depends on our public health efforts.”
Palm says some may be feeling lax about the crisis: Leaving home, gathering with others and not paying enough attention to mask-wearing and hand-washing.
“Wisconsin summers are beautiful. Businesses are opening up. Taking all of these precautions is draining. It’s easy to get discouraged and tired. It’s easy to let your attention slide, to accept the invitation to that barbecue, or to gather some friends for a drink,” Palm says. “But again, this is what we know. We know that gatherings as simple as barbecues and bars can and have spread COVID-19.”
Palm says we need to get back to the teamwork mindset much of the state had in March and April, before Wisconsin becomes the next big hotspot.
“We did such a good job in the spring of flattening the curve, protecting each other, protecting our vulnerable citizens, protecting our healthcare workers,” she says. “It really is time to do that again, so that we don’t have to learn firsthand the lessons that Florida and Texas and Arizona and New York and Seattle did before.”
As families and school districts try to decide for themselves how to proceed in the fall, the governor implied a statewide school closure mandate could end up challenged in court by Republicans, just like his Safer At Home order.
Evers says if families want schools to open and want them to feel safe, every Wisconsinite, whether they have children or not, needs to be conscious of their own health and choices.